Unofficial Alliances will soon be legalized everywhere


#1

Starting as soon as this round of MW is over, allowing Unofficial Alliances will be the norm, from here on out.

This does not include the current MW round, but as soon as it ends, we wanted everyone to have a good heads-up on this, so you could possibly plan ahead for next round and all future rounds.

This subject is not up for debated, as it was a game owner decision, here are some of the reasons it was decided.

A summary of the issues with Forbidding Non-Fam Coordination

  • It is impossible to moderate external communications.

    • “Smart criminals” get away with it. Legalizing UA would level the playing field.
  • Forbidding coordination has always been a “band-aid” fix that masks root imbalances that we need to fix.

    • It would be like taking pain meds before going to the hospital; they wouldn’t be able to properly diagnose you if you cover up your real symptoms.
  • Forbidding coordination makes the game far less appealing to players who want to play with their friends.

    • We’ve seen this particularly with new players who get in trouble for doing what seems fairly intuitive.
    • This also reduces the appeal for returning players who want to come back with their old buds.
  • Forbidding coordination makes it impossible for players to make friends with former enemies within the course of a round.

    • This sterilizes the gameplay and reduces strategic and social depth.
  • Attempting to moderate this rule is a drain on staff resources.

    • Buildings tools to facilitate this would be a waste of time to solve the wrong problem. Our efforts are better spent balancing the game such that we address players’ concerns with UAs instead of trying to forbid/avoid them. We don’t need more mod tools, we need to remove our dependency on manual moderation.

We are dissolving the Moderator team
Ok, I lied. :unamused:
#2

makes sense! presume there will be a 1 ally limit though?


#3

No limit


#4

Great news. It’s very much more “real world”. Building temporary, or permanent, unofficial alliances is a key part of real diplomacy - and should make the game much more interesting!


#5

Just a few points id like to highlight. Perhaps if im wrong please clarify.

Market aiding will happen like bunnies mating.
Not multi market aiding but market aiding.
People with the most loyal friends will win most rounds, cause during war time they will aid there buddies. I know i sure will.

Ops like.visions and spy on target and planning for a single fam become obsolete. Im talking top 4 here.

There are 2 or 3 groups of friends in ic. Loyal friends. The good the bad the ugly, however u see yourselves doesnt matter but those 3 groups will dominate.

Forget about competitive rounds like this. Its gonna be those 2 or 3 groups of buddies running it. Im not complaining, im definitely in one of those groups so ill be fine. But im high lighting this so u realise the can of worms being opened here.


#6

Yikes. Having played the couple rounds a year or two ago when this was allowed, I’m not looking forward to going back to it. There’s no chance to have galaxies with an IA encouraged/discouraged setting?


#7

I really think the market should be fully disabled for milky way with this change. That way there can be coordinated alliances without just aiding resources to a fam with a couple tiny attackers that pester enemy fams/alliances and require absurd amounts of morale to clear. It’s also impossible to clear those people since you would need to take down the eco of their entire alliance.

If the game is just going to be 2 or 3 big alliances, why bother with families? Just have 2 or 3 big families instead.


#8

Cause this is better than checking for ia apparently.

@DustyAladdin makes really good obvious points.

Im someone who will benefit from this but i dont want this.

The whole game was based on planning and taking down an Alliance or lately a single fam. Even back in tri days it was usually 1 in 1 unless tri.cancel. still we r taking away from alot of the original concepts of the game.

With this set up. There is no planning. Plan and hope? I know alot of the formula geeks will be upset some not.

But its not up for debate. Apparently. It should be.


#9

Related Past Discussions

The following are worth reading to understand the history of this rule and its problems:


#10

Absolutely it is. I spent at least 12 hours on investigations this round when your family was accused, and I don’t even know how many more last round when @Sol_Invictus was doing something that, although illegal, was arguably reasonable if not for this rule. That’s time I didn’t spend on code, and cooking up tools to let the mods do that in my place is creating unnecessary work to solve the wrong problem.

There’s also operational overhead involved in managing a mod team who may or may not have conflicts of interests if they also play, plus the time spent by individual mods when they are able to investigate. Checking for IA is hugely time consuming, and all for a rule that inhibits what players naturally want to do.

I agree though, @DustyAladdin does make good points. He made similar points in 2017, and we followed the same suggestion he’s making now to make it a galaxy-specific rule. This is why SN allows UA now.

Unfortunately, the optimistic prediction from that compromise didn’t hold true. It’s as much of a problem now as it ever was.

Simply put: our current system isn’t working.

Yes, a debate should be had, and it was had 2 years ago when we tried this the first time. The compromise failed, and it’s time to move on.

You are not wrong about the problems you describe, but the idea that “we shouldn’t do this because X is broken” is not what we need. We need to fix X. If the market is the issue, then we will figure out how to fix the market.

Fwiw, it has been discussed that our concept of families is inherently flawed. We may indeed come to a point where families in their current form are no longer the primary way to group and compete. That isn’t happening anytime soon, but your assessment is valid.

This problem hasn’t changed in the last 2 years since we talked about it, and the flaw it masks is as old as IC itself. It’s time we fix the root issue instead of relying on ineffective band-aids.

We need to fix problems, not hide symptoms. Suggestions for combating the anticipated flaws are welcome in #support:ideas.


#11

Alright, let’s dig down on some of the foreseeable problems and what we can do about them. I’m sure other people will think of more issues than just these, so hopefully discussion and ideas can keep coming so that IA isn’t as negative a change as it was last time.

1) Having multi accounts is still going to be illegal. How is this going to be found and enforced? The happenings of the cheating in this round would have been much harder to notice if market aiding is allowed. I can get my friends who aren’t planning on playing in a round to join at the start and market aid me all their resources and then go inactive, giving me a huge boost and putting the family they landed in at a disadvantage, and all legally. This round has been very fun and competitive and all the top fams had better eco starts than the family that cheated. Having more multi accounts around since they will be harder to detect will clutter up the galaxy more and make it harder to achieve well balanced families, with this MW round as a stellar example.

Proposed Solution: Disable the market for good.

2) What is the purpose of families? The game has focuses on playing as in individual, within a family, and within an alliance. Since the alliance feature has been disabled, people mostly play to win size or NW as a family, taking specialized roles and coordinating within a family (although some people get hung up on getting high ranks with individual size or NW). This is absolutely integral to the game and this change blurs the line of what the purpose of the family is and what the goal of the game is. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but Milky Way will somewhat lose its identity as the family galaxy. If the goal is to make the game more individual focused, then families should be removed from the game and players should be placed as individual families with the option to make allies (this is what Supernova already exists as). Keeping the structure of families while breaking down most of the reasons to play alongside family members is a bad idea. It gives lots of information in family news and access to family forums that cannot be hidden from family members, which presents issues with potential spies and rogue family members.

Proposed Solution: Disable the market. Preventing families from funding other families preserves some of the family structure and provides an incentive for players to work within their families and play with eco strategies that provide for all their needs.

3) New players. As a leader, I have never once removed anyone from one of my families because they were new, bad at the game, or had a difficult personality. Those were very difficult decisions and arguments with other family members to allow certain people to stay around. With the ability for a player in your family to get aid from other families and then legally blow up your family from within, there is little to no incentive to allow players to remain in families other than those you know and fully trust. I foresee that most families will be marking all players rogue/inactive who are new/bad/disliked and removing them at the nearest opportunity. Having the 8 explores or the starting resources from that family slot doesn’t matter nearly as much with allies and cross family aiding being allowed.

Proposed Solution: Remove the ability to play anonymously and bring back Virgo (and remove the market). It will still be a very tricky issue though.

4) Morale. Just like gold and the ability to build 8 exploration ships a day, morale is a limited resource. Members of families choose races and roles to specialize and form a well rounded unit as a family, giving the large fleets to a few attackers, who are then limited by morale on how many attacks they can make. In huge alliance wars, it is extremely common for people to take advantage of the morale limitations and pass planets to very small players so that retaking will cost huge amounts of morale. Without legal IA this isn’t as much of an issue, since the choice to make some people stay very small means a loss of resources and growth within the family. But in an alliance that includes half the galaxy, having one or two very small players provides a very small disadvantage in exchange for a huge advantage in morale. Fighting many families on all sides is very difficult from a morale perspective, and only being able to declare war on 2 families at once is not nearly enough to provide enough morale to adequately defend yourself. Morale is meant to help balance the galaxy in favor of smaller families. With IA allowed, those small families have the ability to be helped by forming alliances, and the morale protection is no longer needed.

Proposed Solution: Significantly lower the morale cost for all attacks or remove morale entirely; remove the 2 war declaration limit.

To conclude, thanks to everyone who read all of this. Pie, I want to thank you for everything you do for the game. You do a great job and I totally understand why you can’t keep up the ability to keep the no IA rule around. This is one of the most fun rounds I’ve played and I hope future rounds continue to be as fun and as competitive.


#12

@DustyAladdin that is wonderful feedback, and exactly the kind of conversation I was hoping for. Thank you.

There isn’t much we can do about multi detection; this is true regardless of UA. What we can do, however, is design around it.

Disabling the market is one option, but adding Galaxy joining requirements may also curb the problem without needing to sacrifice one of the more interesting parts of the game.

I’m open to disabling the market too though, if you or anybody else wants to start an #support:ideas thread to discuss and vote on it specifically.

This is a fair concern. Having been away recently, I haven’t been able to update you all on some of the larger plans here, but redesigned formal alliances is high on the list which will address some of this. Specifically, the plan is to keep families as a concept, but move some of its functionality into the new alliances feature.

The goal isn’t to make the game more individual focused. If anything, it’s the opposite; to give players more control and flexibility over their relationships in the game universe.

I do still want to keep MW “classic”, and allowing UA is arguably as classic as it gets if you consider the alphas and betas, but galaxies having their identities is something I definitely want to preserve.

This is more of a problem with the Rogue feature, which is pending deprecation anyway in favor of the ability to “Deport” empires. This is a good example of a family feature that would be reworked for alliances. Killing somebody from your family wouldn’t make as much sense as simply booting them from your alliance.

I do agree that removing anonymous play will help, and we are likely to do that soon for other reasons anyway. Galaxy joining requirements would help here as well.

Morale is deeply flawed, and will likely be replaced by Fleet Efficiency. We can/should discuss the impact of UA in that thread.


Again, this was great feedback. Thank you for keeping it productive.


#13

Despite the downsides of this change, the simple fact is that by its strictest definition Illegal Alliances has always been a bad rule. I would assume that I’ve been in violation of it many, many times. In nearly every round I have ever played, I’ve given advise and unofficial support/peace offerings to smaller players and families that are at the bottom of the rankings or having difficulties with a larger family. I will continue to do so despite any rule against it. Why? Because it is the RIGHT thing to do as a veteran of this game.

Not a fan of market aiding across families, except for perhaps between official allies. Neither am I in favor of entirely disabling the market.

TLDR; I have ZERO answers, only comments.


#14

I like the idea of designing around multi-account creation in such a way as to make it less appealing. A user registers and has a low score of some kind regardless of chosen race. With each round played, the player gets an extra point they can apply to a race attribute. It doesn’t have to be this specific example - it’s just an idea. For this specific example, though, we’d need a way not to make this unfair to legitimate new players. Either way, the point is to make it only possible to get a higher rating through using the same account. This won’t eliminate multi-accounts, but it might discourage it at least somewhat, as maintaining multiple accounts over time to maintain these bonuses might be a bit exhausting.


#15

So next round when worse comes to worst, dilated peoples definitely come first!


#16

If i understand this correct…

1: UA will be the new norm, opening up for a whole new diplo game, and making diplo bascily 100% needed if u wana survive as if u dont get into an alliance it will be hard to do good.

2: As in every scenario we seen in UA rounds, the most active players will gang up together, now not only in the same fam but most likely in alliances too…

3: Without a doubt there is a small group of players in this game that are in the top fams almost every round.

From experience, we can look back to SN when we did the IA alowed rounds there. I started an alliance that was refered to as the Mag7 that become very big with most of the active top players, and we became super powerfull…this alliance continued into a new round and another round. it became this super allaince that was completly dominating.
And it killed game play completly. it was a farm fest…

There is no doubt in my mind, that alowing for UA between fams, will:

  • Result in more farming, couse the top guys will allie eacother from the start ( as they always do)

  • Result in less action, if 2-3 fam go into an allaince these fams wont fight eachother. Most likely this allaince will be an power allaince they will be forced to attack the most likely smaller fams for planets that maybe dont have an allaince… Farm fest again.

for me the IA/UA game was never a fun round of IC becouse :slight_smile:
if ur apart of that domination power allaince there is either farming or little action that makes the game boring.
if ur not part of the power allaince, there is an overwhelming force that going up against is kinda not an option if u wana keep your planets.

i’w been in both these situations multiple times, and its a shitty round of IC everytime.

without a doubt in my mind UA is a bad idea for gameplay. But i undestand it might be needed as we maybe wont have ppl to enforce IA rules anymore…


#17

Yeah I have never had fun in a round where UA were allowed, so I’m very doubtful it will be any different this time around. I’ll give it a chance again before rioting about it though.


#18

nah, people take this game and themselves way too seriously lol, I can almost guarantee none of this shit is going on your tombstone. Seems like a lot can’t play this game without their blankies close. :joy: oops don’t hurt your fwends feefees


#19

Perhaps we should change the win conditions so large UA`s aren’t always favorable.


#20

As much as I hate it, I think fams should be completely random with UA’s legal … otherwise you are going to have superfams buddying up with eachother and just making for a really boring galaxy.